DC is one of the top comic book contenders in the world. The superhero comic book genre started with Superman in 1938 in Action Comics #1. While Marvel has Avengers to their name, DC boasts their epic team-up of Justice League.
Conceived by Gardner Fox, Justice League first appeared as a team in The Brave and the Bold #28. While the seven original members were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter, over the years the team has had different versions.
The Justice League received its own comic book in November 1960, titled The Justice League of America. Now after 57 years, we’re finally getting a Justice League movie and DC fans couldn’t be happier. So here is a list of 5 comic book arcs we think every Justice League fan must read.
7. Identity Crisis (2004)
Number of Issues : 7
Created By : Brad Meltzer, Rags Morales, Michael Bair
Main Characters : Justice League, Elongated Man, Dr. Light, Green Arrow, Batman
Identity Crisis has not been popular among the readers. The most plausible explanation would be that the story contains huge amount of violence and a rape scene. But if you’re fine with that in a comic book, this shouldn’t be a problem. Infact, you’d love the story.
The story starts with Elongated Man, who is at a stakeout during which his wife Sue Dibny was brutally murdered. The Justice League tries to find the culprit and during the course of investigation find themselves falling apart. Meltzer tries to bind all this in an exciting storyline as Batman discovers a long history of deception which changes the relationship of members of the Justice League with each other forever.
6. JLA: Earth 2
Number of Issues : Graphic Novel
Created By : Grant Morrison, Frank Quietly
Main Characters : Justice League, The Crime Syndicate
Justice League shows the mightiest heroes of the Earth brought together to save the entire universe from evil. But what if their evil counterparts get together and become THE EVIL. That is exactly what Grant Morrison showed in this graphic novel.
The Justice League is pitted against their evil counterparts from the Earth 2. Known as the crime syndicate, the team comprises of Ultraman(Superman’s evil Counterpart), Owlman(Batman’s evil Counterpart), Superwoman(Wonder Woman’s evil counterpart), Power Ring(Green Lantern’s evil counterpart) and Johnny Quick(Flash’s counterpart). But if the Justice League is the villain here, who’s the hero on Earth 2? That would be Alexander Luthor, the lone hero from Antimatter Universe.
The Crime Syndicate originally were from Earth-3 but the concept of multiverse was eliminated in Crisis On Infinite Earths. The best thing about this novel is how Grant Morrison explains that good cannot survive on another Earth and evil cannot win on our Earth.
5. The Brave And The Bold #28 (1960)
Number of Issues : 1
Created By : Joe Giella, Mike Sekowsky, Murphy Anderson, Gardner Fox
Main Characters : Justice League, Starro The Conqueror
This is where it all started. The first time Justice League of America came together to fight the evil. This is the first time Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter came together to defeat Starro the Conqueror.
The Justice League wasn’t alone in defeating Starro the Conqueror. The team had a mascot, Snapper Carr. This is the only Justice League story from 1950’s, so automatically the comic book is an antique. But that’s not it. You get to see your favorite superheroes fight an intergalactic starfish, and Gardner Fox manages to make it serious. If you like optimistic comic book, this one’s for you.
4. Origins (2011)
Number of Issues : 6
Created By : Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Scott Williams
Main Characters : Justice League, Darkseid
If you don’t want to read the older Justice League comic books and directly dive into the world of DC’s iconic superheroes, fear not people. We have just the thing for you. Justice League : Origins is a 6 part comic arc created by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams.
For those who are only starting to read Justice League comics because of the live action movie, this one is a definite read. The story brings together a slightly different team from the original one, with Cyborg replacing Martian Manhunter and pitches them against the big DC baddie, Darkseid. The artwork is pretty cool and the story is the perfect start Justice League could have got for the New 52.
Since Darkseid is speculated to be the main villain in Justice League : Part 2, people who are not familiar with him should definitely give this a try.
3. JLA: The Tower Of Babel (2000)
Number of Issues : 4
Created By : Mark Waid, Howard Porter, Steve Scott
Main Characters : Justice League, Ra’s Al Ghul
Batman’s paranoia is no secret to anyone. Tower of Babel will tell you exactly how paranoid the Dark Knight is. What the story about? Batman has contingency plans for every Justice League Member on his computer in case someone goes rogue and guess what? Someone gets their hands on it.
The files from Batman’s computer are stolen by none other than Ra’s Al Ghul, the demon’s head and soon he brings down the members of Justice League, one by one. The story’s an important one if you want to know why Batman’s prepared for any fight. While having a plan for everything seems like a nice idea, breaking the trust of your team members sounds bad doesn’t it? Tower of Babel is perhaps the one of the most comprehensive studies of Batman’s personality to ever be released.
2. Kingdom Come (1996)
Number of Issues : 4
Created By : Alex Ross, Mark Waid
Main Characters : Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, The Spectre
In the near future, when the Justice League we know has retired from the crime fighting business, a new line of reckless superheroes take their place. These newbies, though powerful do not know how to fight crime. As a result, our old heroes have to come out of retirement and teach these newbies how things work.
Written by Mark Waid, the best thing about Kingdom Come is the beautiful artwork by Alex Ross. Matching the sublime artwork with his writing Waid manages to tell just how Superman would look like as a mentor. Alex Ross crafts the heroes of the DC Comics as infinitely iconic and powerful, while still retaining his storytelling abilities. Tragic and beautiful at the same time, Kingdom Come is a must read for DC and Justice League fans alike.
1. Crisis On Infinite Earths
Number of Issues : 12
Created By : Mark Wolfman, Jerry Ordway, George Perez
Main Characters : Anti-Moniter, Moniter, Harbinger, Superman, Flash, Alexander Luthor, Jr. , Superboy-Prime, Psycho Pirate
If you think Rebirth was the only time DC relaunched their universe, we have some bad news for you. Before rebirth, there was New 52 and before that, they did Crisis on Infinite Earths. But what exactly is it? Crisis on Infinite Earths was an attempt to streamline continuity and make it easier for comic book readers. The plot? Simple. Anti-Moniter wants to destroy the entire multiverse.
This 12 issue event saw the deaths of some of the major DC characters including Supergirl and Flash. Infact it was Flash who saved the entire multiverse by running so fast that he disintegrated. Crisis on Infinite Earths is the perfect example of how beautifully chaotic comics can get. We wouldn’t recommend this one to the casual readers just now. But once you’re familiar with the detailed universe of DC, do give this comic arc a try.
Here it is folks! 7 Justice League comic books every fan must read. Do tell us if you like any other arcs in the comments below.